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Chapter 20 International Trade Agreements

Contemporary and Emerging Issues in Trade Theory and Policy

ISBN: 978-0-4445-3190-2, eISBN: 978-1-84950-541-3

Publication date: 2 June 2008


Over the last 60 years, multilateral trade liberalization has reduced tariffs to historically low levels. The dominant theory of multilateral trade agreements, based solely on terms-of-trade externalities between national governments, is the conventional wisdom among international trade theorists. But it features two defects that render it inconsistent with reality. This chapter proposes a simple formulation of the political economy of protection that dispenses with terms-of-trade externalities, predicts the properties that empirical work has confirmed, and is free of the counterfactual implications of the dominant approach. The model is applied to trade agreements.



Ethier, W.J. (2008), "Chapter 20 International Trade Agreements", Marjit, S. and Yu, E.S.H. (Ed.) Contemporary and Emerging Issues in Trade Theory and Policy (Frontiers of Economics and Globalization, Vol. 4), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 381-395.



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